History of Men's Lacrosse at Temple University
The 1996 team after playing a game at Messiah College.
We know that our history dates back to as early as the 1980’s. Paul Cavrell (’83) had transferred to Temple from Syracuse in 1981 and quickly joined the men’s lacrosse team. Coming in as a previous walk-on player from the Syracuse varsity lacrosse team, he remembers liking the Temple club environment much more. “Less stress, more fun”, is how Paul described playing lacrosse for Temple in the early 80’s. Although the record books from those early days have long been misplaced, Paul remembers those times fondly, stating “We had a great time and played some good games”.
It is unclear what happened to the club after Paul graduated from Temple in 1983, but what we do know is that the team had dissolved sometime between then and 1994-1995. Derek de Zeeuw (’99) was one of the members who helped restart the team in the mid 90’s. At this time, the club sports office had no recollection of there ever being a previous men’s lacrosse club at Temple. What started as “just a couple of guys” in 1995, quickly turned into a team of 12-15 over the next few years. While it was enough players to start a game, many of the players would often play multiple positions due to the lack of subs. In the words of Evan Grossman (’98), “In club lacrosse…everyone runs midfield.” Nonetheless, the team joined the National College Lacrosse League in 1996-1997 and managed to compete strongly against schools such as Penn State, and Villanova. Initially, the team had coached itself in the 90’s, eventually finding a coach in Richard Owens who also coached some high school teams in the Philadelphia area. Those late 90’s teams boasted winning records each season, winning their division and clinching a trip to the NCLL National Tournament in 1998.
The 2005 team before facing off against Rowan at Geasey Field.
While the team continued to exist into the new millennium, the level of success on the field was lost into the late 2000’s, as the Owls failed to achieve a winning season from 2007-2012. However, around 2012, as participation began to rise and management of the program improved, success on the field returned to North Broad Street. In 2013, the Owls finished the regular season with a 12-4 record, reaching the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. This first winning season quickly became the new standard, leading to a consecutive winning season and playoff appearance in 2014. The momentum of success culminated in 2015, resulting in an undefeated 20-0 season and NCLL Div. II National Championship. The Owls took down Binghamton 10-8 at Panzer Stadium in State College, PA to take home the Frederick Cup that now sits on display at Pearson-McGonigal Hall on Broad Street.
The 2015 team after winning the NCLL Div. II National Championship over Binghamton.
Following the National Championship season, the Owls saw a surge in membership and made the jump to Division I of the NCLL in 2016. The Owls finished their first season in NCLL Div. I as Liberty League Champions. With a solid coaching staff and strong membership, this steady rise continued with the Owls reaching the NCLL Playoffs four consecutive years (2016-2019) and back-to-back NCLL National Tournament appearances in 2018 & 2019.
In 2020, Temple left the NCLL and joined the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA), which is recognized by US Lacrosse as the premier non-varsity men’s college lacrosse league in the United States. The MCLA is known for providing student-athletes with a “virtual varsity” lacrosse experience, following NCAA rules and eligibility requirements. While there are MCLA teams in 46 states, Temple is the first (and only) MCLA program in the greater Philadelphia/Tri-State area.
2020 marked the inaugural season in the MCLA for the Owls where the team opened the season with 3 road wins in North Carolina. Temple received votes in the New Balance MCLA Coaches Poll in the final 2 weeks of the season before it was canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We are excited to finally be back on the field, and embark on our journey this year in 2022.
Over the years, the one thing that has never changed is the passion for men's lacrosse at Temple University. And it is with this passion that the vision for Temple men's lacrosse will continue to grow year after year.
We thank you for your support of our program, and Go Owls!